Under Fire Test | Final Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. What unusual preparation does Bertrand make for the offensive?

2. According to Cocon, how many villages has the squad quartered in?

3. At the beginning of Chapter 16, why is Paradis worn out?

4. What irritates the men the most about the shirkers?

5. Where are the survivors of Bertrand's squad sent for their leave?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Despair is a constant threat in the novel. Many characters find unique ways to fight against despair and some are consumed by it. It is the source of strange behavior and adaptive strategies, and the cause of some seemingly suicidal actions.

Part 1) Explain the theme of despair as it occurs in the novel. How does this threat compare to other threats of trench life and warfare?

Part 2) Discuss some of the strategies some of the men develop to stave off despair. How well do these strategies fare. Explain examples of the men falling into complete despair.

Part 3) Using examples from the last chapters of the book, give a last analysis of the theme of despair. How much does it affect the men overall? How successful can they be, in the end, in fighting it off?

Essay Topic 2

The author demonstrates that in the war, life is cheap. Soldiers on both sides die for mundane reasons with no clear gain. The poilus of Bertrand's squad and others show that the deaths of strangers mean little to them, and the death of friends is common and unremarkable, though sad.

Part 1) Cite and explain examples from the book to show how the author establishes the poilus' attitude towards death..

Part 2) Discuss the theme of the cheapness of life. What are some of the smallest and most meaningless reasons that soldiers die in the novel? How do the soldiers react to these events?

Part 3) Do the men of Cpl. Bertrand's squad seem aware of the cheapness of their own lives? How do they deal with the nearly constant threat of death, and the knowledge that death may mean nothing?

Essay Topic 3

The brutality and deprivation of life in the trenches is a near-constant throughout the squad's travels and experiences. Although many men of the squad grumble and complain about their conditions, others develop a philosophical outlook and accept their state for as long as they must. This struggle to deal with the seemingly unbearable conditions in the trenches is a constant psychological challenge for the men of the squad, alleviated occasionally by leave and quartering in villages.

Part 1) Describe some of the hardships faced by the men when living in the trenches. How healthy and sanitary are the conditions? How much protection do the men have from weather or from sudden enemy attack? How comfortably are they able to eat, live, and sleep?

Part 2) Explain some of the ways that the men deal with their situation in the trenches. What luxuries and activities are considered welcome diversions? Explain examples discussed in the book of the men acting to make their situation physically more pleasant. Discuss psychological adaptations that the men make to better deal with their surroundings.

Part 3) How do the men react to the occasional respite from trench life? What luxuries of normal life do they relish? How do the men make the most of their leaves and opportunities to escape from the trenches?

(see the answer keys)

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